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(Above NEW SONG “Picture That debuted live at tour rehersals)
Roger Waters staged a stunning Trump takedown during his performance of Pink Floyd’s “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” at a rehearsal last night for his upcoming Us + Them tour. During the 11-minute Animals song, screens that bisected the small crowd that the singer later described as “friends and family” displayed doctored images of the president in bright, Warhol-like colors depicting him with lipstick, with breasts, with a Klan hood, without pants (showing a tiny penis), with his head on a pig and with the word “charade” (referencing a lyric in the song) written over his face.
Midway through, a giant, flying, drone-controlled pig flew around the screen. The words “Welcome to the Machine” were written on it juxtaposed by an image of Trump with dollar signs over his eyes and a word bubble saying, “I won!” The other side of the pig simply read: “piggy bank of war.” Later, the screens displayed some of Trump’s most heinous quotes about his proposed border wall, 9/11, taxes, women, his daughter Ivanka and more before running the words “Fuck Trump” the length of East Rutherford, New Jersey’s Meadowlands Arena in a stunning affront to the president. He also continued with Trump-related imagery in “Money,” and used “Us and Them” to showcase a world at odds with each other.
Earlier this year, Waters told Rolling Stone that the Us + Them tour would be “an exercise in resistance, not just to Trump, but to all the despots, dictators, thieves and ne’er-do-wells all over the world.” He’d previously used “Pigs” in his Mexico City and Desert Trip concerts late last year to showcase his distaste for the president. He felt it was a message worth repeating.
“We have to organize our love in such a way that it becomes a potent and powerful enough tour to resist their narcissism and their greed and their callous disregard for the feelings of others and their absolute lack of the ability to empathize with anybody,” he said. “It’s a lack of empathy that creates a true sociopath like Donald Trump.”
Waters also test-drove a number of new songs from his upcoming LP, Is This the Life We Really Want?, including “Déjà Vu,” “The Last Refugee” “Picture That” and “Smell the Roses.” The majority of the set consisted of Pink Floyd numbers, including “Time,” “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2),” “Brain Damage” and “Comfortably Numb.”
Roger Waters has a reputation for being someone who keeps a tight rein over every aspect of the recording process. But the singer, bassist, and former Pink Floyd member says he allowed producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Paul McCartney) a surprisingly free hand when overseeing his new album, Is This the Life We Really Want?, which arrives June 2.
“I was used to being in control of everything and doing it all,” he tells EW. “I realized, watching Nigel work, that it wasn’t going to work if I was me. I was going to have to learn to be ‘Quiet Roger.’ So, I went, ‘All right, let’s try this.’ Which is difficult, but I’m glad I did, because he did a really, really good job. And he’s made a record that I couldn’t have made.”
Recorded in part at the L.A. house of producer and singer-songwriter Jonathan Wilson, the result often sounds far more like the music Waters did make with Pink Floyd back in the ’70s than his previous solo output, like 1984’s The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking or 1992’s Amused to Death, his last collection of rock songs.
“He has a fan’s deep attachment to the oeuvre,” Waters says of Godrich. “He’s enjoyed having the opportunity to do it himself, if you see what I mean. Because that’s what he’s done. That’s why the studio was full of two-inch tape in big f—ing loops going round!”
A new Uncut manifests itself this week (it’s in UK shops on Thursday, but should be turning up with subscribers any moment now) and, as you’ll see, our cover star is Roger Waters.
The small matter of 25 years after his last rock album, an urgent, raging Waters has returned, with much he needs to say. Is This The Life We Really Want?, according to producer Nigel Godrich, gives Waters a “reboot in the same way The Force Awakens gave Star Wars back to the fans.” And in our exclusive interview, Waters elucidates. “It’s not much of a leap from ‘Is This The Life We Really Want?’ to ‘Money’, ‘Us And Them’ or ‘Welcome To The Machine’,” he says. “They’re all interconnected in ways that are… unsubtle.”
There’s plenty to talk about, of course, as Pink Floyd’s retrospective exhibition opens at the V&A in London and Waters plots his imminent Us + Them live extravaganza. In a wide-ranging conversation with Michael Bonner, Waters touches on Floyd and The Beatles, 9/11, Brexit (“All through my youth I fought the Farages of this world”), Bernie Sanders and, of course, Donald Trump. “There’s a resistance everywhere,” he says. “I want people who come to the show, particularly in the United States Of America, to understand that what I’m doing is symbolic of the general resistance to the absolute inhumanity of the status quo.”
The magazine can be purchased online in a few days through Newsstand.co.uk.